Skip to main content

When Modi "invoked" President Ram Nath Kovind's caste to woo OBC Koli votes off Somanth and Jasdan

President at Ghela Somnath temple, near Jasdan, Sept 4
By Rajiv Shah
There is strong flutter among Sangh Parivar insiders. For the first time, they have begun conceding, the party's Hindutva agenda is falling apart, that too in a state which has been it's political lab since mid-1980s. Riding on this agenda, based on which the party ruled Gujarat for 22 years, Narendra Modi stirringly emerged on the national canvas in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, winning comfortable majority.
"I am not suggesting that the BJP would lose in the state assembly polls, which end on December 14. It would retain power, even if with a reduced majority", an insightful Sangh insider, who has been watching the electoral scene from close quarters for about a month, told Counterview. "Our concern is totally different. Instead of Hindutva, which seeks to unite all Hindus under one umbrella, what we see is a direct effort to woo castes for electoral gains."
Calling it a "matter of concern for the BJP and it's ideology", this insider said, "It's not just the Congress which has been using caste for electoral gains. Rahul Gandhi in his new avatar successfully wooed Patels, OBC Thakores and Dalits by organizing an anti-BJP coalition through Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani. But, more importantly, as a reaction, of all persons, Modi was forced to woo voters on caste line."
"Thus", said this insider, who is attached with a Sangh-controlled propaganda network at the very top, "I and my colleagues noticed to our complete surprise that, at least at two different places, in Jasdan and Prachi near Somanth, while addressing audience, Modi seemed to invoke the support of the second biggest OBC group of Gujarat, Kolis, by telling them that he has installed a Koli as the President of India."
Agreeing that no President of India was ever dragged in an electoral battle by invoking caste, the insider said, "Addressing a sizeable audience of Kolis, Modi told them in Jasdan that even the President of India is a Koli, and they now have an easy access to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Giving another example at Prachi, he told them, mostly fishermen, that their welfare programmes were launched by a Koli President, Ram Nath Kovind."
Hardik Patel's rally in Ahmedabad, Dec 11
Conceding that Modi's image of a Hindutva icon remains strong in big cities, especially in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, the insider said, "Even in urban areas, I and my colleagues noticed, this iconic image is starting to erode, and a major reason behind this is Hardik Patel's unprecedented support... In fact, this election has turned into Modi versus Hardik, with Rahul playing a crucial role in building an alliance with the latter."
"One of the biggest mistakes of the BJP government in Gujarat was police firing at the agitating Patels, who had gathered for their stand strong pro-quota rally in Ahmedabad a year ago, in which several youths died. Hardik's men distributed the CD in tens of lakhs across the state among Patels. On watching the CD, Patel women, we noticed, particularly became emotionally charged", the insider said.
Asked whether the sex CD on Hardik, said to have been distributed by the Patel leader's opponents in order to morally slay him, had any negative impact, the insider noted, "It has gone against the BJP. Ordinary Patels we talked to blamed BJP president Amit Shah for engineering a conspiracy against their young community leader. Not without reason, the plan to release more CDs, though announced, had to be abandoned."
Pointing out the persecution of Hardik -- his arrest and cases against him -- further exacerbated the anti-BJP feeling, the insider said, "In fact, what one is witnessing is, Patels as a community, consisting of 15% of Gujarat, seemed to have gone against the party. Exhorting to vote against the BJP, Hardik attracted a much bigger crowd than Modi, and all spontaneous."
As for Modi, on the other hand, he said, he would have to wait for one to three for people to pour in for his rallies, "yet one could witness empty chairs in large numbers... He wouldn't recall his two of his top steps, demonetization and GST, except at Morbi, whose small industries, he said, stood to gain from the concessions his government was forced to give."
As for the Hindutva agenda, such as "Congress should clarify whether it wants Mandir or Masjid", or the accusation of a "secret meeting" at Mani Shankar Iyar's residence with Pakistani diplomats to defeat BJP in Gujarat, the insider said, "It also had, if at all, a negative impact. To his surprise, it didn't pick up, as the Congress didn't react after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's strongly worded statement about the meeting."

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
The BJP is going to win and there is no doubt about it but with a slimmer margin than before. The INC will improve its vote count.

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

A former Modi ally, Prashant Kishor wanted to enter Congress 'on contract, as trader'

By Anand Sahay*  The Congress Party and the election campaigns specialist Prashant Kishor, whose company has done strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they could not reach an agreement for Kishor to join the party. News reports suggest that the Congress rejected Kishor’s terms. This is not wholly unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it, and wish to serve it in any capacity that the party may see fit. But that isn’t Kishor at all. He gave the impression of entering into a contract, as a trader might. If news reports are to be believed, he sought freedom to report directly to party chief Sonia Gandhi, and sought untrammeled control over party communications. When such ideas did not find favour, the consultant withdrew. It is clear he has no particular love for the Congress, and its ideas, ideology and politics. In contrast, look at the key personae in G-23. They

A Marxian trend that queries undemocratic customs and traditions of capitalism

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  A very well-meaning comrade called me a pluriversal Marxist with a wild smile full of English irony, while chairing my book release function in the Marx Memorial Library, London. I dedicate this piece to her… There is no other philosopher who is more abused and misunderstood like Marx. There is no other philosophy like Marxism which is more demonised on a regular basis. The mindless vilification campaign against Marx and Marxism continues without any form of reason. The propaganda and portrayal of Marxism as a devilish doctrine signify its importance as a philosophy of human emancipation from the very forces who demonise it. Marxism is a philosophy of praxis which helps us to understand the centrality of creative power of labour in producing socially meaningful value. It helps us to analyse the laws governing production, distribution, consumption, exchange, market, profit, pricing and private property in the development of class-based society. As a humanist p